Fall is a time of transition. The weather changes from hot to cold, the foliage turns from green to orange, and outdoor archery season gives way to indoor archery season. But what exactly is the difference between outdoor archery and indoor archery? We asked Olympic archer Crispin Duenas to break down the difference between the two seasons and offer some advice on the best way to prepare.

A360: What would you say is the biggest difference between indoor and outdoor archery?

CD: The biggest differences between indoor and outdoor archery is the distance and the effect of the weather/elements. 

For target archery, outdoor is shot at 50 meters for the compound and barebow division, and 70 meters for the recurve division. Different age groups in each division can also see a change in their required distance. Indoors is shot at 18 meters for both divisions regardless of age or equipment. 

With the effects of the outdoor elements, archers have to make quick calculations or adjustments to counteract those effects — for example, a crosswind — in order to make their arrow hit the ten-ring. Indoor archery doesn’t have the elements and because of this many archers believe that indoor archery is a true display of the archer’s mental control.

A360: What should archers know about choosing indoor arrows?

CD: There is a lot of temptation to switch to big-diameter arrows in order to catch the higher scoring ring, but most of the time smaller outdoor arrows can actually prove to score better than their bigger counterparts. Choose the arrows that work best for you.

A360: What else should they know about indoor equipment?

CD: An archer’s indoor equipment can differ from their outdoor setup because they don’t have to counteract the wind and outdoor elements while shooting. The things that could differ as compared to an outdoor setup are: stabilizer balance and length, arrow size, sight aperture, bow poundage, peep size for compounds, fletching type/size, grip angle, and choice of footwear. 

A360: How does the Vegas Shoot differ from other indoor tournaments?

CD: The Vegas Shoot differs from other indoor tournaments because unlike World Archery rules, compound archers score with the “big ten” ring instead of the “inner ten.” The big ten is just slightly bigger than a quarter whereas the inner ten is about the size of a dime. Each competition day in Vegas includes a 30-arrow scoring round instead of a 60-arrow round. In the compound and recurve categories, there are a lot less equipment restrictions, so more people shoot with arrow diameters that would be illegal for a World Archery sanctioned competition.

A360: What advice do you have for archers that are looking to transition from outdoor archery to indoor archery?

CD: First, try your outdoor equipment indoors to see if this setup works for you — this will be the easiest transition to indoors for you instead of having to change bits and pieces of your setup to try to find what works. 

The mental game of indoors is completely different for some archers as compared to outdoors. The majority of archers have a thought of “just hit the target” outdoors, but that changes to “don’t miss the middle” for indoors. Try to change this way of thinking and focus on your goal of executing consistent shots, which will inevitably score better for you. 

Also get comfortable shooting with people closer to you on the shooting line, and make sure your equipment doesn’t cross into someone else’s space on the shooting line. There’s usually limited room in indoor archery and at a competition like Vegas, there’s less than 3 feet of space allotted for each archer on the line. 

Next Steps

The distance to the target in indoor archery is shorter than in outdoor archery, so archers should be prepared to adjust to the shorter distance. This means adjusting their arrows as well as their mentality. Competing in this new discipline will equip you with more experience and will allow you to practice archery all year. If you’re ready to take on a new challenge with indoor archery, visit your local range for indoor arrows and ask about any upcoming tournaments. 





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